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Complete and total noob trying to get into DOS gaming

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Joined: 22 Jun 2017
Posts: 1
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:18 pm     Post subject: Complete and total noob trying to get into DOS gaming Reply with quote

Hello! I am Grant and I am currently trying to get into DOS gaming after playing many games from the era such as the Goldbox AD&D games all the way up to Quake and TES II: Daggerfall in DOSBox. However, I am planning on purchasing a machine from Ebay from about the late 90s era. I am primarily looking for a machine with a Pentium 120 and an original 8mb Voodoo card. I have found a machine that meets what I'm looking for on ebay: A HP Vectra VL Series 3 5/120. However, I can't find any info about the machine online. Once again, I am new and don't really know where to look, but I feel I should have found something about. This wouldn't be a HUGE concern if it weren't for the fact that the machine only has an integrated 1mb videocard and I don't know how to tell if it is compatible with a Voodoo or even if it's upgradable at ALL. Once again, these questions are probably quite noobish, but I'm pretty out of my element here. Anyway, If someone could help me find information about the machine, or really give me any tips at all would be appreciated.
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Joined: 24 Jun 2011
Posts: 2021

PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:52 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if you'll find a Voodoo card in a machine, unless you get really lucky. You might have better luck finding a general computer and trying to find the Voodoo card alone, later. I've done things like that trying to setup "real" sound blasters, etc., not that it's really necessary for sound. And it sounds like you're already working that plan.

Were the Voodoo 2 and 3 cards backwards compatible to the original Voodoo? I don't recall, and at least one had to be used alongside a "regular" video card, it only did the 3d - but you can look up the details. I've gotten rusty on the topic.

Other than that, can you ask the seller to take a picture of the inside of the case, if there isn't one already? That can quickly tell you if it's a normal expandable box, or if it's something custom and difficult to expand like some Dells and AST and so forth used to make. If it's a normal desktop/tower box, you should be fine. If it's a "compact desktop" or similar, they are harder to expand or take special hardware.

And, though others may correct me, a 1 meg video card in a dos machine sounds pretty good! Dos itself only had 1 meg to work with, after all... Tbbbbbth! But no doubt that late in the hardware cycle you've probably got 4 or 16 MB in the machine, usable to dos games as 32 bit expander or XMS. Happy

You should be able to find a list (and arguments) about the best Dos video card to get; the specs on that could help you judge the one in that box.

If you need other forums to ask questions on as well, try Vogons and Vintage Computers:

edit: wow, I see a lot of 3DFx VooDoo card flavors on ebay at the moment. Very cool! That should be no problem to pick up.
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Way too much free time
Way too much free time

Joined: 11 Jan 2013
Posts: 689
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:28 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been messing around with one of my older PC:s, an PCI+ISA based Pentium mobo from QDI with some old video & sound cards, including a Voodoo 1 card from Orchid. (Have drivers if you need.)

The thing I find most difficult now is getting the bios to recognise larger ATA harddisks - there is a limit to 8GB on this one, anything larger it just hangs. Disks are mechanical and rather sensitive; two of my old drives died from overheating since the original box was rather poorly ventilated and I had three drives in it.
(I guess I will have to dig up some SCSI relics and see what still works.)
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Joined: 05 Mar 2018
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 12:36 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

I have dealt with some good ATAs in the past. The only problem is it is hard to find except on eBays these days. Now they are modern and that stinks. However I would put the speed to 4.33 or 8 MHz for really tweaking my brains for the nops etc. I would not care too much about the age however ask the seller directly if it works and check the reputation. If you get an honest answer you should be good to go!
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